Fortunately, for caregivers, more people with dementia are speaking out about what it’s like on the “other side.” Last week, we featured Norman Mc Namara’s call for dementia awareness with, “Please Don’t…” This week, we feature, Dr. Richard Taylor, a retired psychologist.
Dr. Richard Taylor offers a compelling account of his journey as a doctor who is now living with dementia.
Since this video was produced a few years ago, his spirit and advocacy have only grown stronger.
His message–Living Outside the Stigma, is compelling despite his being given a life sentence. Of course, we all have life sentences. Life, as we’ve lived it, will end. But one with dementia has been labeled (diagnosed) with a disease that steals one’s life experiences and memories of loved ones. Piece by piece these life treasures are taken away until one grows increasingly dependent on others.
Click to watch this short video (< 4 minutes) shared with compassion by one who lives with dementia. Watch to understand; better yet, try to feel what it will be like to live your life knowing what lies ahead.
If your browser doesn’t support viewing by clicking above, then watch it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyp8rgH4MtU
We risk running blind until we open our eyes. These tips will help us get started.
TIPS to raise dementia awareness
Respond with compassion.
When at first, you can’t make sense of the behavior you’re observing, respond with compassion.
People appeared annoyed as the young woman shouted while flailing her arms. Despite the bizarre stories and images of Walmart shoppers that are often passed along on the Internet, I held a tender spot for the family. Cautiously, I approached and soon, the ostracized family appeared to relax. (Someone was taking a moment to understand without judgment.) While a toddler, their daughter had fallen three feet into a ditch in such a manner, she suffered head trauma and resultant brain damage. Imagine their lifetime of pain!
Help raise awareness.
Share what you’ve learned or experienced with others to help raise awareness.
Without the Dr. Richard Taylors in our world, we cannot possibly know what it’s like on the “other” side.
Create hands-on familiarity.
Invite a young person to help care for one living with mild to moderate dementia.
This will give that young person a jump-start as to what to expect and will encourage future generations to do the same.
More awareness will help people diagnosed with dementia to feel understood. They’ll feel more compassion instead of stigma.
I love the self-aware reply by an elder man whose number I accidentally dialed while trying to reach another resident at Bell Tower Residence in Merrill, Wisconsin: My memory is not what it used to be. How about if you call back? Now, there’s a man who knows himself better than a lot of people!
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